A Vegan Celery Recipe which is a Chilean style salad of creamy avocado, crisp celery and a simple lemon dressing. This makes a beautiful accompaniment to rich meals or seafood as it is light and fresh tasting.
This recipe is from a wonderful friend of mine who lived in Chile for a few years. It is wonderfully refreshing with a nice crunch. The olives add a nice tang while the cilantro adds beautiful citrus notes.
The Origins of this Salad
In Chile, this is called Apio y palta and is a very simple classic Chilean side dish. Traditionally it consists of avocado, celery and olives simply dressed with a lemon oil dressing. Other versions may include a pinch of cumin, paprika, or cayenne pepper, cilantro/coriander or some chopped onions.
Our version includes the traditional celery, avocado and olives with lots of fresh coriander/cilantro and smoked paprika for some smokiness.
Not a fan of cilantro (coriander)? We have Some Substitutions
If cilantro tastes soapy and blah to you, then you are not alone, with new studies showing that there may be a genetic link. Not a problem in this salad you can replace it with cooling parsley or fragrant dill instead.
What Olives Should I use?
I usually make this salad with Kalamata olives as I just love their almond shape and deep purple colour. This time around, I made this salad with the olives from our olive tree that we had brined ourselves. As they had the same tangy, vinegary taste that comes from pickling them in red wine vinegar.
The critical thing to remember when you are choosing the olives for this salad is to make sure that they are good quality olives from the deli or kept in oil and vinegar. Avoid the tinned or jarred varieties as they are bland with no discernible taste.
Some alternatives to Kalamata olives would be French black olives or Niçoise olives. If you are in the US, you could also look for California black olives.
The Avocados in this Salad
We have used Shephard avocadoes in this salad which are wonderfully creamy with a brighter yellow flesh than other varieties. If you can find them, they make an ideal partner to the bright green and yellow colours in the celery. But this salad is also great with any avocado that you can find.
Great for Chilean style mains such as Chilean empanadas or Cazuela (stew). If you prefer classic flavours, then this salad is perfect with roasts or barbecues, especially good with pork. The lemony flavour in this salad makes it sensational to serve with a whole baked, or BBQ’d fish.
How to make this salad
Wash the dark green celery stalks, remove the strings and white ends and then cut on the diagonal.
Wash the yellow stalks and cut off the ends – there is no need to remove any threads. Remove the leaves but keep them whole and cut them into 1-inch batons (2.5 cms). Slice the yellow stalks diagonally.
2PREPARE REMAINING INGREDIENTS
Peel and remove the pit from the avocado, then dice.
Wash the coriander (cilantro), shake and pat dry, cut off the ends then roughly chop.
3ASSEMBLE THE SALAD
Place the chopped celery and avocado in a large mixing bowl add the chopped coriander, lemon juice and oil.
Season your salad with salt and pepper, then mix until well combined, taste and adjust the seasonings according to your taste
Arrange in a salad bowl, scatter the olives on top and keep chilled until you are ready to serve. Sprinkle a pinch of smoked paprika on top just before serving for a pop of colour and some delightful smokiness.
- You can cut the celery a few days in advance and keep in the fridge covered in water in a sealed container. Make sure that you dry the celery thoroughly and pat dry before assembling the salad.
- Make the dressing the day before and keep it covered in the fridge. Take it out in advance so that it comes to room temperature as olive oils harden when cold.
- You can make it an hour before serving and keep it in the fridge. Make sure that you have liberally doused the avocado in lemon juice to prevent it from browning.
Need to use up the rest of your celery? Then try these salads as well:
(Times are an estimate and will depend on your skill level)
- 2 stalks celery, outer dark green (2 cups sliced,approximately 180 grams)
- 4 stalks celery, inner yellow with leaves (1 cup leaves, 1 cupstalks, approximately 160 grams)
- 2 large avocados (approximately 500 grams altogether)
- 1 small coriander (cilantro), bunch (approximately 50 grams)
- ½ cup olives
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- Pinch Smoked Paprika to garnish
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Wash the dark green celery stalks, remove the strings, white ends and then cut diagonally.
- Wash the yellow stalks and cut off the ends. Remove the leaves but keep them whole. Chop the yellow stalks into 1 inch (2.5cm) batons and slice the stalks diagonally.
- Peel and remove the pit from the avocado, then dice.
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, season then toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Arrange in a salad bowl, scatter the olives on top and keep chilled until ready to serve